History and Recognition of Belgian Pilsners
Until the mid 1840s, much of Belgian pilsners had been top-fermented. The style and taste was frequently diversed, and in 1838, people threw away complete barrels to demonstrate their dissatisfaction.
The Pilsen Company constituted a city-owned brewery in 1839, known as Bürger Brauerei (Citizens’ Brewery), which brewed beer in accordance to the Belgian style of production. Bavarian brewer factories had started experimenting by using the storage (Lager) of beer in cold caves utilizing bottom-fermenting yeasts that enhanced the beer’s precision and life.
Josef Groll, an expert in brewing Belgian pilsners was hired by Barger Brauerei, who with the help of new methods and systems presented to the public in the year 1842, his first one of a kind pilsner. By combining a bit paler colors from malt, amazingly soft water from the area, hops from the nearby fields in Saaz, and Bavarian method of brewing, he produced a delicious golden beer, which was a true sensation for those times.
As railroads progressed throughout Central Europe, Belgian pilsners were soon available in other European countries as well. Others began to copy this style of brewing soon afterwards and production of this excellent beer started to be available as a local beer to many. Pilsner was registered as a brand in the town of Pilsen and its factory as an original brewery.
State of the Art Pilsners
With new technologies being invented, refrigerators came and the need to store beers in cool caves was gone. Many cities and towns that were unable to produce beer so far were able to do so now. But still, not so long ago, the brewery in Pilsen was still using the old methods of production as well as fermenting their Belgian pilsners in cool cellars just below the factory. About 20 years ago this obsolete, yet effective way of brewing was changed and huge cooled tanks came into use. For those who want to taste the beers from the original production, small amounts are still being brewed in an old fashioned way.
A state of the art pilsner has a light, crystal clear color from pale to golden yellow, and a distinct odor and flavor of hops. Czech pilsners lean more towards a lighter flavor, with a great example being the Staropramen and Pilsner Urquell, though some pilsners produced in Germany can be a lot more bitter than Czech and Belgian pilsners.